Symantec finds malicious activity continues to grow at a record pace

Posted: April 28, 2009 in Tech

Symantec Corp. announced that malicious code activity continued to grow at a record pace throughout 2008, primarily targeting confidential information of computer users.

According to the company’s Internet Security Threat Report Volume XIV, Symantec created more than 1.6 million new malicious code signatures in 2008. This equates to more than 60 percent of the total malicious code signatures ever created by Symantec — a response to the rapidly increasing volume and proliferation of new malicious code threats. These signatures helped Symantec block an average of more than 245 million attempted malicious code attacks across the globe each month during 2008.

The report noted that Web surfing remained the primary source of new infections in 2008, and that attackers are relying more and more on customized malicious code toolkits to develop and distribute their threats. Furthermore, 90 percent of all threats detected by Symantec during the study period attempt to steal confidential information. Threats with a keystroke-logging capability—which can be used to steal information such as online bank account credentials—made up 76 percent of threats to confidential information, up from 72 percent in 2007.

The report found that phishing continued to grow. In 2008, Symantec detected 55,389 phishing website hosts, an increase of 66 percent over 2007, when Symantec detected 33,428 phishing hosts. Financial services accounted for 76 percent of phishing lures in 2008 compared to 52 percent in 2007.

Finally, the report found that the volume of spam continued to grow. Over the past year, Symantec observed a 192 percent increase in spam detected across the Internet as a whole, from 119.6 billion messages in 2007 to 349.6 billion in 2008. In 2008, bot networks were responsible for the distribution of approximately 90 percent of all spam e-mail.

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